India is delaying its planned launch of its Gaganyaan crew vehicle due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. India Todayreports:
India’s maiden space mission, Gaganyaan, will be launched in 2023, Science & Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said on Thursday. In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said that India’s maiden human space mission will soar to the skies in 2023, making the country the fourth nation in the world to launch a human spaceflight mission after the US, Russia and China.
Meanwhile, the test vehicle flight for the validation of Crew Escape System performance and the first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan are scheduled at the beginning of the second half of 2022.
“This will be followed by the second uncrewed mission at the end of 2022 carrying “Vyommitra” a spacefaring human-robot developed by ISRO and finally the first crewed Gaganyaan mission in 2023,” he said.
The following excerpts from the report summarize India”s growing counterspace programs and its anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests in 2019.
India has over five decades of experience with space capabilities, but most of that has been civil in focus. It is only in the past several years that India has started organizationally making way for its military to become active users and creating explicit military space capabilities.
NEW DELHI (Department of Space PR) — The Human Space Mission: Gaganyaan is targeted for December 2021. The Gaganyaan Programme has been approved by the Government of India. The design and configuration of major subsystem are finalized. The procurement and system/ subsystem realisation for tests and flight has commenced.
The crew selection and training process for Gaganyaan mission is progressing well including the training in Russia under Gaganyaan Mission.
GSLV Mk III launcher which is ISRO’s heavy lift launcher is identified for Gaganyaan mission. It has requisite payload carrying capacity for Orbital module in desired elliptical orbit. Process for human rating of GSLV Mk-III is progressing well.
ISRO has wide experience in technological areas with respect to Launch vehicle, spacecraft management, ground infrastructure etc. ISRO has taken steps for human rating of existing systems to ensure crew safety.
In certain areas where ISRO lacks experience such as Human centric systems, crew training, crew recovery etc., ISRO is planning to collaborate with national and international agencies. MoUs in this regard have already been signed with DRDO labs, Indian Air Force and Russian space agency.
This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.
Indian officials are dismissing concerns expressed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about debris in low Earth orbit from an Indian anti-satellite (ASAT) test that could threaten the International Space Station (ISS) and other spacecraft.
The Hindustan Times reports that an official from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as downplaying the dangers.
The DRDO chief and a spokesperson did not comment. An official of the agency, while asking not to be named, said the debris will disappear in 45 days. “The test was calibrated keeping in mind the debris issue. The world should know that debris from two Chinese tests is still floating whereas those created by the Indian test will disappear,” he added.
An Indian expert said that India conducted the anti-satellite test responsibly but agreed it could have raised risks for the ISS. “I would say India conducted the test responsibly. At 300km, the altitude is lower than that of the ISS and most of the other satellites and the debris will come back to the atmosphere of the earth eventually. That said, there is a possibility that some debris might enter the apogee of the space station; the risk of collision increases as it does with any object sent to space ,” said Rajeswari Rajagopalan, head of nuclear and space initiative, Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi hailed the test, saying it made India a space power.
During a NASA all-hands meeting on Monday, Bridenstine said the test created 400 pieces of debris, including 24 that went above the apogee of the International Space Station (ISS).
“That is a terrible, terrible thing, to create an event that sends debris into an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” he said. “And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight. It’s unacceptable, and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is….
“While the risk went up 44 percent, our astronauts are still safe. The International Space Station is still safe. If we need to maneuver it, we will. The probability of that, I think, is low,” Bridenstine added.
The space station has maneuvered on many occasions to avoid potential debris strikes.
Bridenstine expressed concerns that the Indian ASAT test will inspire other nations to conduct similar ones, thus increasing the debris in orbit.
An update on hypersonic vehicle development in India:
India is planning to conduct the first flight trial of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials.
The HSTDV programme aims to produce a hydrocarbon-fuelled scramjet test article capable of Mach 6-7 and autonomously guided flight. The HSTDV will pave the way for a hypersonic cruise missile and platforms that can perhaps be applied to other tasks, such as very high-speed reconnaissance.
According to DRDO sources, initial ground tests with the kerosene-fuelled scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) have been completed and the propulsion system is now being integrated with the air vehicle.
DRDO likely to test fly hypersonic plane by early next year Brahmand.com
DRDO expects to test fly Indiaâ€™s indigenous hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSDTV) by early next year, the defence agencyâ€™s Chief V K Saraswat said Friday.
â€œWe have conducted ground testing of the vehicle for nearly 20 seconds. It has performed well. We are hopeful to flight test it by early next year at Mach 6-7 speed,â€ Saraswat told reporters during Aero India 2011…
US removes ISRO, DRDO from export control list Deccan Herald
Fulfilling a promise made by President Barack Obama in November, the US has removed nine Indian space and defence-related companies from the so-called Entity List to drive hi-tech trade and forge closer strategic ties with India.
U.S. likely to lift ban on ISRO, DRDO soon The Hindu
The U.S., which imposed curbs on trade with defence entities like ISRO and DRDO following Indiaâ€™s nuclear tests in 1998, has set in motion regulatory changes to lift the ban soon, thus fulfilling a commitment made by President Barack Obama.
A formal notification to lift the ban by the U.S. Department of Commerce for this purpose is in advanced stage, top U.S. officials said. (more…)
Brahmand.com takes a look at India’s step-by-step approach to developing reusable hypersonic launch vehicles:
The RLV will loft a satellite into orbit and immediately re-enter the atmosphere and glide back for a conventional landing. The RLV and the rocket booster will be recovered separately, with the former making a conventional landing on a runway and booster making a parachute landing.
DRDO to invest in Rs1,000-crore defence avionics facility domain-b.com
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to invest around Rs1,000 crore [$220 million] in Hyderabad over the next five years to boost missile production and build a world-class hypersonic wind tunnel facility to serve the growing demands of strategic systems.
While a sum of Rs600 crore [$132 million] would be invested on expansion of missile production which is being taken up in collaboration with Bharat Dynamics Limited, another Rs350 crore [$77 million] would be made available towards the setting up of the wind tunnel.
The wind tunnel would be used to test systems for missiles, aircraft and re-entry vehicles flying at hypersonic speed â€“ (above Mach 5) as against the present facilities to test vehicles of speed up to Mach 5.
I found an interesting article that looks at the delicate balance that the United States must keep as it attempts to expand cooperation in space with both China and India, whose fierce rivalry for dominance in Asia is spilling over into the building of geo-positioning systems, ballistic missile defense, and satellite-killing spacecraft.
China’s determination to hold the option of denying the use of space-based capabilities to other states was illuminated in its successful test of an anti-satellite weapon in January 2007, eliminating an old Chinese weather satellite. Building upon this experience, Beijing conducted its first ballistic missile defense (BMD) test on 11 January 2010.
US President Barack Obama on Saturday made the much-awaited announcement of taking important Indian defence and space research institutions like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited off the high-tech ban list.
Speaking at an Indo-US business meeting, Obama said the â€œdual-useâ€ rules, by which high-tech exports by American manufacturers to the DRDO and ISRO are banned, would be amended and updated. The â€œdual useâ€ refers to technology that can be utilised for both civilian and defence purposes.